I’m a middle-aged single mom with a challenging teenage son, struggling with employment issues and significantly overweight.
For five years, my brother’s Christmas gifts have included exercise gadgets: a fit bit, a pocket phone-holder for while I’m walking, earbuds to wear while exercising.
I don’t exercise regularly and have never told my brother that I enjoy walking.
Previously, he gave me a self-help book on depression.
Obviously, he lectures me via his gifts about what he thinks needs improving in my life.
Having opened them around family members, my son’s now needling me about why I'm not using these exercise gifts.
How do I tell my brother to stop?! I'd rather no gift than one that makes Christmas feel like a lecture wrapped in a bow.
The True Spirit of Xmas
I can’t know whether your brother is truly concerned about you but afraid to raise the topic, or he feels he has the right to tell you what’s “wrong” in his opinion, about your life.
But you do know him, and you know the history between you.
Is this fat-shaming from a crude know-it-all? If yes, say so, and disconnect. Or, is it the only way he feels he can express worries about your health and well-being without angering you?
Yes, his Christmas gifts, opened among family, are too overt and public a statement.
But, IF there’s a chance that he means well, consider saying that you appreciate his intended message, but he’s using the wrong vehicle.
Ask him to please choose future gifts that he knows you’ll appreciate. Then, decide whether it’s possible to have a real talk with him as adult siblings having a caring relationship.
A man whose family owns a popular tavern in my area is friendly when he spots me or seeks my advice, but is fond of slamming my reputation and lifestyle behind my back.
Two friends that we share recently alerted me to this situation.
I’ve mostly ignored the backstabbing but when he called me “that loser” I called him, and inquired about his regard for the two men who shared his ridiculous lies with me.
He said they would never lie. I then challenged him about the loose talk that he enjoys so much!
All parties agree that I’ve never given this person any reason to dislike me so much.
I’ve lived my whole life with absurd gossip and misconceptions of my abilities due to a left-side body
paralysis affected by a head injury suffered a lifetime ago!
I’m a property owner, loyal husband, caring father and decent tax-payer. Merely ignoring this guy’s slander isn’t enough action for me.
Slander is a legal charge, so considering it calls for your knowing where it’ll lead.
In Canada, common law protects every person from harm to their reputation by false and derogatory remarks about their person, known as defamation. All Canadian provinces have libel/slander legislation (defamation includes slander and libel; slander is verbal defamation and libel is printed defamation).
In the United States, 23 states and two territories have criminal defamation/libel/slander laws, along with one state (Iowa) establishing defamation/libel as a criminal offense through case law.
Look into the legal fees, time involved, and likelihood of coming away satisfied if you were to pursue this route.
Perhaps you’d get enough satisfaction from the simpler choice of having a lawyer’s letter sent to this man, stating your feelings plus the possibility of a charge of slander.
Also, your mutual friends should tell him to curb his “loose lips.”
Reader’s Commentary Regarding being harassed/stalked by an ex-lover/spouse, etc. (Dec. 23 and Jan. 15):
“Many years ago, when I separated from my husband and he began threatening me on the phone, I was advised to tell him, "My lawyer told me that I must inform you that all phone calls to me are being recorded."
“That ended the threats immediately! Fortunately, I had previously moved to another city where he couldn't stalk me because I'm sure he would have done so.
“I hope this information will have some impact for your readers.”
Ellie – Most disturbing about some of the responses to the issue of being harassed/stalked was the statements from some readers that asking police for a restraining order against the person didn’t always get action. Instead, they were told that unless an actual “incident” occurred, the police couldn’t act. That’s not acceptable in cases of personal safety at risk!
Readers: Share your stories.
Tip of the day:
A sibling’s intrusive health-related message may have a caring intent. Worth discussing.